BY SAM LACHOW
|6-4||Last 10 Games||2-8|
|102.6||Points scored per 100 possessions||102.9|
|105.1||Points allowed per 100 possessions||104.7|
|93.9||Possessions per game||99.6|
|45.0%||Field goal percentage||44.4%|
|Joe Johnson (15.1)||Top Scorer||Ty Lawson (18.0)|
Projected starting lineup: Ty Lawson, Randy Foye, Evan Fournier, Kenneth Faried, Timofey Mozgov
The Nuggets routed the Nets in Barclays Center 111-87 the last time these teams played, their seventh straight win, dropping the Nets to 5-13. Tonight, the Nets are only 3 games below .500, and the Nuggets have fallen apart.
Things have changed. The Denver Nuggets were bound to have some struggles — Brian Shaw is a new head coach, Andre Iguodala left for Golden State, and a triplicate of injuries between Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGee, and Nate Robinson — but they are just imploding; they’re 25-31 heading into tonight and Shaw publicly ripped the team earlier this week.
Though Ty Lawson continues to prove he’s a top guard, Kenneth Faried has not elevated his game like expected and now-Wizards guard Andre Miller did not get along with Shaw. But even without a lot of their weapons, the Nuggets rank 11th in points per game at 102.5, and they’re still running, with a top-four pace in the NBA.
Deron Williams was able to burn through the Lakers point guards on Sunday, but he’ll have his hands full with Lawson, arguably the fastest point guard in the NBA. Given Williams’s recent injuries as well as his fitness, tonight’s a test for Williams’s speed. Lawson penetrates as frequently as anyone in the NBA, which will not only be a test for Williams, but also for the Nets interior defense.
Rebounding was again the Achilles’ heel for the Nets in this game. They were out-rebounded 56-37, with Timofey Mozgov leading the way with 20 rebounds. The Nets were without Williams and Paul Pierce in the last game. But given the Nets horrendous showing against the Portland Trailblazers last night (they were out-rebounded 53 to 29), they’ll get blown out if that trend continues.